Amid concerns raised by some Moro leaders on President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposal to assign Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol as head of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa), Malacañang assured that the chief executive will consider all factors before making his decision.
Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) interim Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim earlier bared that Piñol is not popular among the Bangsamoro people due to his role in junking the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) in 2008 which was meant to expand the autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao.
Murad, however, said he will still respect the President’s choice to appoint whoever he would want to serve as “point man” to help fully develop Mindanao.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted that the “President will always take any factor being introduced by concerned players in that region.”
“Sinabi ni Presidente na depende pa kay Mr. Murad, eh ‘di ibig sabihin kino-consider niya na kung may opposition o wala (The President said it will depend on Mr. Murad, so that means he is considering if there are oppositions or none),” Panelo said in a Palace media briefing.
He, however, noted that until Duterte and Murad have spoken to each other, anything is possible.
“Puwede rin naman na kausapin niya si Mr. Murad, puwede namang um-okay na siya na hindi na lang si Secretary Piñol. Tingnan natin (There is a chance the President will speak to Mr. Murad, there is a chance he may decide not to appoint Piñol. We’ll see),” Panelo said.
Not Blaming BTA
Panelo, meanwhile, clarified that Duterte is not blaming the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) for the “slow” progress of the BARMM. The BTA will govern the new BARMM until elections in 2022.
This after BTA member Zafrullah Dipatuan said it was “unfair” for the President to say that the BARMM is too slow, especially since the BTA is still negotiating with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for a PHP1.5 billion transition fund to operate.
“Hindi naman sila bini-blame ni Presidente, nababagalan siya sa galaw because nga of those constraints (The President is not blaming them, he finds it slow because of those constraints),” Panelo said.
“Sinasabi niya lang ‘yun gusto niya mas mabilis (He was just saying that he would have wanted it done faster),” he added.
Panelo, meanwhile, defended the government for the slow disbursing of funds to allow the BTA to properly do their jobs.
“Baka naman because the process requires that kaya matagal (maybe it’s because the process requires that, that’s why it’s taking so long),” Panelo said.
“Just the same, nababagalan si Presidente, kung pupuwedeng bilisan ng appropriate office (the President finds it slow, if the appropriate office could only speed it up),” he added.
Panelo, said he will call on the DBM to heed the BTA’s call for funding.
Created in 2010, MinDA serves as Mindanao’s lead agency in coordinating and integrating development efforts that bring about the accelerated socio-economic development of Mindanao. (PNA)
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